this is my postpartum

here we are, week 6 of postpartum life. weeeee!

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so, i decided not to give a run down of each individual picture anymore because i’m lazy and super busy. plus, you all create your own narratives anyway, right? it’s kinda like looking through old photo albums {ps. isn’t it sad that old photo albums is actually an oxymoron now?} and you flip over the pictures but are always disappointed by the vanilla descriptions on the back. they story in your head is always better…

this week wrapped up my official initial postpartum period and i think our lives and the pictures of it reflect that. we’re in full swing and that’s a good thing. from grandma visits, to darla’s first week of school, to hanging with teeny, tiny, best buddies, to website updates, to music festivals downtown…wruckers are simply in full swing. so i think this blog series is officially over with this post.

what can i say about these past 6 weeks? they’ve flown by but seem to have taken their time all in the same moment. life seems incredibly different and oh so rich and full. i feel really excited about the future with this family. i also feel a little scared of this winter…dang farmer’s almanac.

but let’s stay in the pleasant tense.

what i want to say is that i have felt extremely and wonderfully supported for these past 6 weeks. transitioning to a family of four  couldn’t have gone any better and i attribute that to the community that propped us up. i felt i had a well of energy to dip into because love and support came to us in so many directions.

this is what i want for families. it’s what i hope to create with my postpartum work and it’s what i hope to contribute to with friends and family and my communities in the future. it makes such a difference to have the support.

and i mentioned before that my lesson this time around was to let the help in. i welcomed it with open arms this time around, understanding that letting someone help me didn’t mean i couldn’t do this parenting thing on my own; it just meant that i didn’t have to.

so i just want to put a big thank you out there to everyone and to the universe and to most of all my parental units! they are the mvp all-stars of my postpartum and third trimester and life. my family is just so incredibly lucky.

that’s it.

i don’t know what i will have to write about now.

probably just butter. and babies. and big hair. and boots. and birth. always birth.

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this is my postpartum

this is
week five of
my postpartum

the winds of change blow fierce around this household and i can’t start with pictures this week because i need to blurt first.

this past week my baby turned a month old. my daughter started kindergarten. my husband trained for a new position at work. i accepted a position with a midwifery practice for childbirth education and to be a referred doula. i switched to almond milk. {jk on that last one}

my head is spinning with all the new that our household is undertaking right now. as mike and i were talking over the weekend about the long hours and grand changes, i confided that i was surprised by how we were “actually not sucking at everything.”  i used those words. my husband sometimes gets my crudest, least eloquent self. lucky dog.

so now i’m questioning my abilities and wondering if i’ll be able to fulfill all the new roles in my life. and then i’m scolding myself for not having confidence and being happy with myself for being bold and courageous with my life. my mind is an exciting place to be at times.

so yeah. that’s what these pictures are about. they are about the new. they are about change. they are about finding balance and time for the necessary in the midst of it all.

we’ll start with our last day of summer break and sending my darling darla off to the world of public education:

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^^^ pool playdate the last day of summer which brings us to… ^^^

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^^^ kindergarten readiness assessment morning ^^^

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 ^^^ does she look ready? ^^^

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^^^ and suddenly i’m the lady packing school lunches ^^^

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^^^ and taking first day of school pictures outside our house ^^^

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^^^ and walking her to school ^^^

and just like that she walked into school and became a kindergartener.  and i walked away with a lot fewer tears than i expected from myself {must mean my placenta pills are working} and… i might have waited until i was out of sight of the school to do a dance down the alleyway.

that is not to say that sending her to school was easy for me. if you’ve been following this blog you know that i had hopes of unschooling and/or homeschooling but this is where we ended up. and i’m thankful. this was the right choice for darla. this was the right choice for my family for this point in time.

so now darla spends her days at school and i spend my days…

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^^^ staring at a beautiful baby. ^^^

and multitasking in a multitude of ways. such as…
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^^^ being a human mattress while trying to write ^^^

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^^^ propping up my baby in piles of laundry ^^^

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^^^ getting yelled at while babywearing and house maintaining. {not really. that’s a yawn.} ^^^

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^^^ and reviewing my lactation materials while lactating ^^^

speaking of lactating, how is breastfeeding going, elaine?

well, i’m so glad you asked. based on my daughter’s weight gain i’d say things are going super. i hope you all like fat babies cause i’m serving them up chunky over here.

but weight gain is not the only thing that matters when it comes to a breastfeeding relationship. i also assess that we’re both pretty satisfied with staying close and attached throughout the day. feeding my baby is still what consumes the majority of my time day and night. and i’m feeling pretty good about that. babywearing allows me to keep her close at all times and to easily nurse her while we’re out and about. i think it’s been easier to accept this second time around that my main job at this stage is sitting down and feeding my babe. that was hard for me the first time, especially in the beginning. i credit my breastfeeding support group with helping me to come around and allow myself to simply relax and rest with my baby while i fed and grew another human. and there are times when it’s still not easy to take a seat and focus on feeding my little girl.

but sometimes…when i’m seated in the right spot…

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i’ll take a look and catch a glimpse of myself nurturing my baby and i’m reminded of how extraordinary this relationship is. and i let all the other to do’s go. and i just sit and feed the baby. and i feel beautiful. i feel maternal.  i feel thankful. i feel accomplished.

and it’s then that i don’t question my abilities and i don’t wonder if i’ll be able to fill my roles. in those moments there is no scolding. and i am happy with myself. in those moments i feel bold and courageous.

it is in those moments that i feel balanced and have found the necessary in the midst of it all.

this is my postpartum

this is
week two of
my postpartum

we can start off by saying that daphne did lots of things in her second week of life that would be deemed rude if she were an adult.

like…

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^^^ yawn in my face ^^^

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^^^ and fall asleep on my chest. ^^^

and puke on me. but she’s not an adult. she’s a baby so all these things were frickin’ adorable! i also got to witness some pretty loving moments from my eldest towards her sis.

like…

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^^^ playing peek-a-boo ^^^

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^^^ morning time snuggles ^^^

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^^^ taking care of ‘le diaper’ situation ^^^

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^^^ and providing moral support during daphne’s first doctor’s visit ^^^

yes, daphne had her first real looksie done by a pediatrician. it was our first outing. how crazy it is to think about the difference between the beginnings of life for my two girls. i definitely recommend a slower paced start like we’ve had with daphne. it’s weirdly refreshing to realize you haven’t been out and about for a week but tucked away and snuggling your loves instead.

and as for me, my week was filled with milestones as well, and some sweet self-care.

like…

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^^^ …prepping myself a meal. i didn’t cook it but it was the first i had assembled on a plate for myself in at least 10 days! ^^^

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^^^ …and babywearing ^^^

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^^^ …and wearing real clothes and missing the way they used to fit over my big belly. ^^^

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^^^ reading ^^^

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^^^ writing out dreams and schemes ^^^

but the most important thing i did for the second week of my babe’s life was to work on our breastfeeding relationship. dap jo has been a pretty good little nurser, but we’ve not been without challenges. even with more knowledge, prior experience and ample resources, getting this relationship off to a good start has been a lot of work. however, i’m so thankful for the extra tools i have this time around. i feel passion building inside of me again to put some CLC skills to use alongside other women as they forge these sweet relationships with their little ones.

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^^^ so i kept my lactation materials close. and my family kept me nourished and supplied with snacks and beverages within arm’s reach. self care is an important part of baby care! ^^^

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^^^ we stayed close, snuggled up for most of the week ^^^

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^^^ i spent the week rotating through many different breastfeeding positions. we improved our skills together as a team. ^^^

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^^^ and thus far we’ve had a pretty pleasant experience leaving me with time enough to stare at a pretty little nursling head and send wishes to the cosmos that her hairs will stay all shades of red ^^^

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^^^ …and enjoy her blissed out, post feed slumbers. ^^^

and i have to say that i realize how lucky i am to have had the opportunity to spend these first two weeks off my feet with my brand-spanking-new baby. i’m thoroughly grateful for the care of my family and to the universe to receive that gift. i didn’t accept it the first time around and now i know what i missed out on with my first girly. having that care and taking this time gave me the energy i needed to get our breastfeeding relationship off to a great start. i believe this experience will ripple forward through our lives bringing positive things our way.

wish us well with week 3!

what i really learned in breastfeeding class

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you may or may not know that i attended my Certified Lactation Counselor training last week with the Center for Breastfeeding. it was wonderful in so many ways. thoughts have been tumbling through my head ever since that branch off into various categories: women’s health, politics, the majesty of the female body. mostly, i just keep seeing breasts everywhere i go now.  ^^^see^^^

the instructors said several things that really resonated with me over the course of the week. first, let me say the training was very even-keeled. there were only a few times during subject material such as “workplace breastfeeding and pumping” where the class ventured into the realm of things that could be a place for social debate because we all know there is certainly a lot of debate about breastfeeding in our society. but the class did an excellent job of being fair and leaving us to have our own thoughts and feelings about what we were learning. that is where this post is stemming from: my own thoughts and feelings.

at one point the instructor said “isn’t it funny how sometimes women can be the harshest on other women. why is that?”

and that’s what got me thinking back to some of the other things we’d discussed earlier in the class: breastfeeding in public, the acceptance of breasts as sexual objects and the refusal of breasts used for their intended natural purposes, the discussions about whom is actually making the “rules” about where, how long, and how often a woman should nurse her child.

so here’s a theory for you to disregard completely {bonus points to you if you get that reference}:

it struck me after all those conversations that the reason women can be so judgemental and mean to one another is because that’s how we’re taught in this world to treat women. we are taught it is normal to be harsh and cruel. we are taught to try to control women. we are taught that women are only right if they fit into boxes and roles that appeal to men.

i do not believe that women are inherently catty and judgmental of other women. i have experienced women being authentic my whole life and have experienced the very opposite. i’ve been lucky to be surrounded by wonderful females at every stage and i feel that when women are left alone they are so loving and kind in their interactions with one another.

but when we are forced into boxes created by others we become what we are taught to be: mean girls. anyone who believes that this world is anything but cruel to women is turning a blind eye. we are fortunate in the western world to have it in lesser degrees but it shines through the most in our society in the areas that are so central to many women’s lives: birth, babyfeeding and mothering.

women are cruel to other women because that is the way the world has taught us women should be treated.

unless a woman is lucky enough to have the freedom to be who she really is. i’ve noticed that as women age they learn to cast off the boxes society tries to fit them in and female bonds become stronger with age. being a young female is hard. a good number of us try out being what we were told we should be but it seems like most are figuring out “this doesn’t work for me” by mid-twenties to thirties. we form strong relationships and communities later in life. much of the school-girl gossip is left behind. that is if the woman is supported by a societal climate that allows her to be authentic.

i know the next time i have a judgemental thought i will think to myself “who put that thought there? is that how i really feel or is it a conditioned response?” in my opinion, too many of the things said about women are conditioned responses and not how women REALLY feel about our fellow females.

in the future i hope to do my best to be kind to all women. i hope to change my thoughts, attitudes and behaviors to remove these conditioned responses. i hope to break free from the expectations i’ve had before about how women should look, act and be. i hope to let women be and love them as they are.

because ladies, you’re all pretty great.

i want to close up this post with one last quote from my class that has stuck with me. i hope in the future we will see the health and well-being of our women as important to that of our males.

“It’s time we start acknowledging that women’s health is men’s health because women grow and feed babies and some of those babies grow up to be men. The health of our mothers matters to everyone.”

some things worth sharing

for viewing:
egg nog fingerswhat do you like to dip your chips in? egg nog??

conference with dadconference with dad

winter solstice

celebrating winter solstice

ear muffs

this is how she covers her ears while making shakes with dad

art project?art project?

these are her latest “art projects.” somewhere along the line she’s gotten it into her head that markers + tape = art project. maybe it qualifies as found object art.

for reading:

flash mob breast feeding

drunk history christmas

teaching about gender

columbus historical society to invade COSI

dadisthenewmom 12 reviews of christmas: start here

and just a couple more wonderful things that i love:

looooook at the woooonderful co-sleeping bed booook via peaceful parenting. designed by photographer Yusuke Suzuki for her own co-sleeping family.

and if any of you are printing out your gift tags, especially if you’re gifting to me, here ya go:

by rebecca’s misc